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Molds are filamentous fungi that occur in many feedstuffs including grains and forages. Molds can produce mycotoxins that are formed on crops in the field, during harvest, or during storage, processing, or feeding. The mycotoxins of great concern include aflatoxin (Afla), deoxynivalenol (DON), zearalenone (ZEN), T-2 Toxin (T2), and fumonisin (FUM).

Traditionally, maize was easily contaminated by mycotoxin. However, in a recent survey, 71% wheat samples were contaminated by DON in Australia. Therefore, the routinely use of mycotoxin binders may help ruminant animal to avoid exposure to low levels multiple mycotoxins, considering that these binders could bind mycotoxins strongly enough to prevent mycotoxin absorption across the digestive tract.

Close up image of mould spore

Maize has long been known for its susceptibility to mycotoxin contamination. Surprisingly, a recent Australian survey found that 71% of wheat samples were contaminated with deoxynivalenol (DON).

Potential binders include activated carbon, bentonite, zeolite, diatomaceous, earth, cellulose, yeast cell wall polysaccharides, and synthetic polymers such as cholestyramine and polyvinylpyrrolidone.

Activated Carbone: it  is a general adsorptive material with a large surface area and excellent adsorptive capacity. It is routinely recommended for various digestive toxicities at 30-50 g per day per cow. previously, it was suggested that Activated Carbone may not be as effective in binding Afla as bentonite or zeolite. However, in a recent in vito trial, it shows an overall better adsorption capacity except for T2 with the lower adsorption capacity.

Bentonite: it is a hydrated sodium calcium aluminum magnesium silicate hydroxide and usually is used as anti-cake agent at 1 to 2% of cattle diets. Based on the recent in vitro trial, it only shows higher adsorption capacity for Afla.

Zeolite: adding 250 to 500 g zeolite per day per cow has been approved to prevent ‘milk fever’. In a recent in vito trial, it also shows a similar adsorption capacity for Afla, T2, and Zen.

Diatomaceous earth: it is usually used as an insecticide on stored cereals and storage rooms. 1% to 2% feed grade diatomaceous earth has also been recommended to add to cattle feed to reduce internal and external worm or parasites. Diatomaceous earth has also shown the potential in vitro to bind Afla.    

Yeast cell wall polysaccharides:   the outer layer of the cell wall constituted  with glucomannan and mannon proteins that determine the superficial properties of the yeast cell wall. The adsorption capacity increases as the proportion of β-D glucans present in the yeast strains increases. However, in a recent in vitro trial, the yeast cell wall product for this trial showed the much lower adsorption capacity compared with the activated carbon.

In general, these mycotoxin binds are helpful to reduce the biavailability of mycotoxin. However, it is difficult to select the appropriate adsorbent for each mycotoxin.

A study compiled by our Redox Animal Nutritionists.

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